Beverage maker asks government to cut taxes in sector to attract investments

Friday May 24 2019

A trader holds different brands of soft drinks.

A trader holds different brands of soft drinks. FILE PHOTO 


Kampala. A favourble tax regime can attract investment in the beverages industry, Mr Jacques Vermeulen, the Coca-Cola Beverages Africa chief executive officer, has said.

Speaking at the commissioning of a new $10m (about Shs38b) bottled water production line operated by Coca-Cola early this week, Mr Vermeulen said that whereas government had promised a phased reduction of taxes in the beverages sector, the process has been halted by Parliament yet the tax is still high.

“It is important to note that this investment was made on a promise to reduce Excise Duty from 13 per cent to 12 per cent in the 2018/19 financial year and gradual decrease per year until 10 per cent. We are grateful that this happened. Unfortunately, the reduction from 12 per cent to 11 per cent in the 2019/ 2020 financial year has been rejected by Parliament, he said, noting that the new bottling line was confirmation that a favourble tax regime is required to attract investments.

The new bottling line has a capacity to produce 24,000 bottles of water per hour and will be key in cementing Rwenzori’s leadership position in the mineral water segment.

In a speech read for him by Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde, President Museveni lauded Coca-Cola for fulfilling its commitment to invest in Uganda, noting that the company had spent about $3.5m on civil works, construction and auxiliary services, the bulk of which had gone to benefiting Ugandans.

“This fits well within our Buy Uganda, Build Uganda policy. Also, your investment in a new manufacturing line creates more jobs for very many categories of Ugandans – which fulfills [government’s pledge to create more jobs,” he said.